Yahoo Launches Fantasy Sports Platform; Loeb Buyback Deal Not Exactly ‘Insider Trading’

Yahoo Launches Fantasy Sports PlatformOn 26 July, Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) announced the release of Fantasy Sports for Android and iOS.  The release also included, for the first time, the ability to participate in a live draft from a mobile device.  According to Engadget, there are thousands of fantasy leagues run on Yahoo, and the latest updated will allow virtual team owners to conduct drafts on their mobile devices rather than their laptops. 

The update included technologies developed two firms, which Yahoo had recently acquired, Loki Studios and Bignoggins Productions.  Regarding draft access, the company said that it realized the importance of Draft Day among fantasy football players.  The updated application also contains the mock-drafting capabilities.

Meanwhile, negative opinions of Dan Loeb’s sale of 40 million shares of Yahoo stock back to the company based on the July 19 closing price continue to spread.  Henry Blodget of Business Insider, Loeb knew three directors were going to resign (including him) and that this would cause the stock price to drop, so he orchestrated a big stock sale to cash in before it took effect.

According to Eric Jackson at Forbes, Blodget has reversed the causality adding that Loeb and two other directors resigned because they were selling an amount of stock that took Third Point’s ownership of Yahoo to below the 2% level.  Jackson continues by pointing out that, before Loeb joined Yahoo’s board he agreed with Yahoo to vacate his board seats if his shareholding fell below that threshold (they were closer to 5% at the time he joined the board).  Jackson adds that ‘Insider trading would have been if Loeb traded on some information that only insiders knew about.  He didn’t.  His sales and their timing were completely legal.’

Ultimately, the Securities and Exchange Commission might be called in to review the deal, but it would appear that Jackson’s analysis is largely correct.

With Loeb out of the way, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will have more control over the board as she tries to reengineer the once proud internet giant. Yahoo shares are currently down in pre-market activity.

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About the author

Audrey is a senior editor for the business and finance sections.